There Will Be No Stay is not a documentary about the death penalty-- not in any way you've ever seen before, at least. It is, however, a film about the actual men who are tasked by society with carrying out the death penalty. This is a first-hand look at executioners, the pressures they’re put under, and the unbearable toll the act of taking another’s life has on their own.
There Will Be No Stay explores the intersecting lives of a team of executioners, speaking publicly for the first time ever, on their own paths to discovering freedom from their personal prisons. It is is a journey of compassion and consequence through a process shrouded in secrecy.
There Will Be No Stay is a nearly completed feature film, but the road here has not been an easy one. Writer-director Patty Ann Dillon began her own journey with the film over five years ago as she set out to make a documentary not about people on death row, the crimes that put them there, or the legal system that passed down their sentence, but the individuals no one ever talks about: the executioners.
As you can imagine, making a movie about a process that no one ever talks about is a bit of a struggle considering, well, no one wants to talk about it. The identities of executioners are rarely publicly disclosed, and sadly they often only become known after they've committed suicide. Many false starts and closed doors later, Patty eventually found two men, Bax and Terry, who were willing to invite her into their deeply private lives and go on the record about how they became executioners, what the job is truly like, and how it changed their lives forever. She then traveled around the United States to get to know their heartbreaking stories, as well as those of other individuals directly involved with institutionalized executions, and began capturing them on film to finally share with the world.